10.27.2009

South Africa

Elliot in the Morning (a radio station here) had a contest to come to South Africa when they take the show there in 2 weeks. The requirement was to send in a 2 minute video explaining why you should be chosen. Naturally, I hopped on the chance to win and made my video.

They announced the winner this morning and I wasn't chosen, but I'm still pretty proud of my video considering I sent it in one hour before the deadline. Check it out...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vW4eN82PzDs

I mean who could have been more creative than that?!!

Anyway, the GOOD, INCREDIBLE news is that the entire third grade has been approved to go on a tour of the WHITE HOUSE the day I would have left for South Africa, so it's not all dissapointing:) I've never been inside the White House and I am so, so excited.

I'll just have to find another way to go on an African Safari!

10.02.2009

Much to Celebrate...

So many wonderful things have been going on lately!

1. At the beginning of Spetember I started ROUND 3- my third year teaching 3rd grade! The beginning of the school year has been stressful, but has gone even better than I had hoped. I changed classrooms, changed my entire classroom theme from jungle to ocean (Welcome to Robinson's Reef!), met my 24 new students (which became 25 just yesterday), and have gotten down to business teaching them every single procedure imaginable: where do their backpacks go? Where does homework go? How do they line up? How do they work in partners? How do they check out a book? How do they take care of the classroom library? How do they choose a just-right book? How do they walk in a straight line? Where do they put their supplies? What's the morning routine? What's the pack up routine? How do they copy an asssignment from the board to a notebook? You get the point... it's a rude awakening to realize that the almost-4th -graders I said good bye to last June are not the just-out-of-second-graders sitting before me. However, my new students are AWESOME and I am anxious to teach them all that I can in the next 10 months.

2. I COMPLETED MY TRIATHLON!!!!!
1/4 mile swim, 12.5 mile bike ride and 2 mile run later, I ran across the finish line. The strength, pride and utter joy I felt was so intense that I started to cry for a few seconds. As I came into view of the finish line, I could see and hear my mom, my dad and Chris cheering at the top of their lungs. I started similing and pumping my arms in the air, victory style, and the moment just took me over. I had never pushed my body so hard physically and it made me feel like a rockstar.
What was hilarious was that sometime around mile 9 of what felt like Tour de France on the bike I started cursing the world and actually thought to myself "if I had my (explative) phone I swear I'd stop this sh*t right now and tell them to pick me up". I rode past a police officer and yelled out "how..ugh...much...ugh...longer" and this guy, the little devil, yells back "about 3 miles! All down hill!" Well! That made sense since the last 9 miles had been like riding up Mt. Kilimanjaro!
However, not 20 seconds later I was peddling UP another hill thinking of all the ways I could mangle that police officer. I'm sure he got a big kick out of lying to me, but he's lucky I din't see him after the race.
Meanwhile, while I am sweating and peddling for my life, do you want to know where my dad and Chris went? DUNKIN DONUTS! Yes, that's right, they cheered me on out of the water and saw me off on my bike and then drove and got a hot dozen! Lucky for them they were back before I was done with the bike or I think my mom may have killed them:) .
Anyway, I ran past them, noisemakers and all, yelled out that my legs were going to fall off, dropped off my bike and started the 3rd leg- the run. With one mile left of it to go, with "That's What You Get for Waking Up in Vegas" blasting in my ears, I got a rush of energy and suddenly became like cheerleading captain to everyone I ran by. I couldn't help but yell to everyone I passed "you're doing great! We're almost there!!" etc. If only they could have heard me an hour before on my bike!
Next up, next spring, will hopefully be an Olympic length triathlon.

3. I pulled off a FANTASTIC party for the Big Mama's 60th birthday!
My mom turned the big 6-0 this past weekend, so the weekend before I threw her a birthday bash in a private room at Clyde's in DC. I made party favors, created a power point trivia game called "Who Knows Big Mama Best", we had a keraoke machine and Jeff was our dj. We ate, drank, laughed and danced the night away. The evening ended with "Shout!" blasting through the speakers and Jason, the Big Kat and me doing the gator in the middle of the dance floor. As she thanked everyone for coming over the microphone, she said that it was the best birthday party she'd ever had.
On her real birthday, she, my dad, Chris and I went to Old Town Alexandria, walked around and had dinner out doors on the water. We toasted to Big Mama over and over again for several different reasons. As everyone who has ever met me knows, I think my mom is the best thing going. She's my biggest fan, constant supporter, and the person who taught me unconditional love. She gives me advice, she makes me laugh and she's discovered how to be the perfect balance of mom and friend. For these and a million other reasons, on such a big occasion, I wanted her to feel like the Queen she is. I think I succeeded!

9.10.2009

Let's Go Fly A...

KITE!
Life List # 31: Fly a Kite. I know, I know, this doesn't seem like a big deal. But I hadn't flown a kite for years and I remembered how much I used to love it.

A few weeks ago some of my family and friends spent our annual beach week in the Outer Banks. All week long I knew that before I left I had to finally fly a kite. However, because I am A. too lazy at the beach to roll over and B. a procrastinator, the idea of making it to the kite store was pushed to the night before we left- the same night that Hurricane Bill was set to roll through.

So I get it in my head that I absolutely can not leave the next morning without flying a kite right as everyone in the house starts packing up their belongings (please envision Big Mama's face when I announce that I must accomplish this immediately, after having been there ALL WEEK.) They all knew that I wouldn't let it go, so Jason drove me to the kite shop and I bought a fish kite off the clearance rack.

I wish I had the first flying attempts on video. Of course I had no idea what I was doing and thought that if I laid the kite on the ground, held the string and ran, good ol' Bill would carry it up, up and away. Negative.
Imagine:
1. Me running all over the driveway with the kite dragging along behind me.
2. My Aunt Tricia throwing the kite in the air and me running all over the drive way with the kite dragging along behind me.
3. Sabrina holding the kite in the air, running with me and letting it go while I continue running all over the driveway with said kite dragging along behind me.

"Uh... I thought it was easy to fly a kite?"

Then out came Chris. (Clearly everyone knew we weren't leaving unless this kite made it into the air.) Bless his heart, I wonder if sometimes he thinks he's dating a 5 year old. He must have tried to get the kite in the air for 15 minutes.
And then, as if the wind knew we were about to give up hope, it picked up the kite and carried it into the dark, cloudy sky. I began running for dear life to keep it in the air (I have since been told you can actually just stand there and it will still fly). Back and forth and back and forth I ran, screaming in delight. Such a simple thing brought me such pleasure!
As I felt the wind die down and watched my kite float to the ground, my family sighed with relief that I would finally start packing:).

8.17.2009

Check it Off!

#1
#2
#6 & #25

#20
#27
#32
I want to make sure I always remember when and where I accomplish adventures on my Life List so I've decided to keep track here! I am always adding to it, but my Life List currently has 43 things listed. Some things are ongoing (#18 become a wine connoisseur- trying my best at this one!!), some are still totally out of reach (#13 travel to at least 6 continents) and some I don't have the willpower to attempt just yet (#24 stop biting and peeling my nails). However, I have completely checked off 10 of my goals so far and I'm in the process of completing a few more.

#1: Earn my Masters- I was able to check this off when I graduated from GW with my Master of Education in May 2007. There were times in the middle of the night when I was awake researching educational theorists and differentiation in the classroom that I thought this may not get accomplished! I was so very proud of myself walking across that stage to receive my diploma.

#2: Crush/stomp on grapes in a bucket to make wine- I honestly added this to the list after I watched Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson do it on an episode of Newlyweds (at least it was good for something!). It looked so fun and gooey! I got my chance in the fall of 2007 when my parents, Chris and I went to a local Virginia wine festival. We had been there all day. We'd tasted wines, gone on a hay ride and taken a canoe out for a spin when across the field I spotted what looked like someone dumping grapes into a silver bucket! We hustled over and wouldn't you know it, the man was preparing a grape stomping contest! Well you can guess who was first in line for that! I threw off my shoes and climbed right in and the grapes felt as peculiar, cold and squishy as I'd thought they would. it was awesome.

#6 & #25: Go to a vineyard and go to New Zealand (I killed 2 birds with 1 stone!)- Now, I didn't mean just any ol' vineyard, I meant an equisite, out of the ordinary one, and that is exactly what I got when I visited my friend Katie in New Zealand for New Years 2006. She lived in the city of Auckland and an ISLAND of vineyards was just a short boat ride away from there. It was a beautiful, sunny day and as we waited for the boat to arrive I can remember lying on street benches with our faces towards the sun. The boat dropped us off and we spent the day walking from vineyard to gorgeous vineyard, tasting fresh NZ wines. At one stop we bought a $50 cheese plate and were too zooted to find it irrational! "Oh but it's such good cheese!" I will never forget tasting those wines while laughing hysterically on the other side of the world.

#20: Go to Las Vegas and see Celine Dion in concert- I feel like Celine Dion is an alien. She has this move where she hits her chest so hard it looks like she's knocking the wind out of herself and I just can't get enough. Her voice is literally ridiculous and my brother and I have been obsessed with her for years, so when we found out she was coming to Vegas for a year, I put it on my life list as a 'must-do'. In November 2006 my mom, her friend Jeanie, Jason and I flew to Vegas and saw the concert we'd been waiting for. It was unbelievable!

#27: Go to Niagara Falls- I was able to cross this off the list when my parents, Chris and I went to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls for a long weekend in October 2007. It was more stunning and extravagant than I could have imagined and we also had a blast exploring the area. We rode on the Maid of the Mist underneath the falls, sang karaoke at a local bar, watched the falls light up in rainbow colors and walked from one end of the falls to the other in awe.

#29: See a live taping of Ellen- This was a big one, considering that watching Ellen Degeneres' show is what inspired me to make a life list in the first place. She had a segment a few years ago where she helped people check things off their life list and I thought 'I need one of those!' So of course because I love her, being in the audience of her show was a top priority. I was in a bit of a rough patch in early fall 2006, and I walked into my parents' house with surprise, VERY happy news from my mom- she was going to meet me in California on my way home from NZ and we were going to see ELLEN! The experience was so cool! The big guest the day of our taping was Patrick Dempsey and I ended up on television and everything. It was wild.

#32: Join a community sports team- I was the organizer and team manager of the award winning 'I Got Your Dodgeballs' dodgeball team in spring 2009:) so we didn't quite make the play-offs, but we certainly deserved the title of most improved and next season we're going for the gold.

#3: Learn to play tennis- though in trying to check this off I took tennis lessons in 2008, I wouldn't exactly say I "know how to play tennis" yet so I've left it with a half check:).

Then of course there's #23 and #39: Complete a ropes course and take a flying trapeze lesson!

Next up on the list the 3rd week of September is #19: complete a triathlon! Though it's a "sprint" triathlon (everything is a bit shorter), I am still VERY nervous about this and I've been training every day. Wish me luck!

8.03.2009

Life List # 39: FLYING TRAPEZE!



The catch!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zytvc7xJHQ

OH MY GOSH so I just got home from my first flying trapeze lesson and it was unbelievable! The adrenanline rush is so strong that I'm still a bit shaky. I am totally hooked, I'm proud of myself, and I'm definitely going back!
I was able to correctly complete all of the basic positions (which is what I'm learning to do in the first video) so I attempted the "catch" and I did it! (which is what's happening in the second video). One of the women in my group literally asked me if I'm a gymnast because my "form is so good". HYSTERICAL! I have found my calling!

Don't tell anyone, but Chris has some quality secret juggling skills. My mom suggested that with his juggling and my trapezing, we should really go on tour and take the country by storm.

3 years ago I made a "Lifelist" and I committed to checking at least 2 things off of my list this summer. With the completion of the high ropes course (#23) and the flying trapeze, I'm off to a great start and I still have 4 weeks left of summer vacation!

7.22.2009

(Wo)man's Best Friend

Does anyone else talk to their dog like its a human being? I mean, not a word here and there but like full on conversations? I need to document this.

Things I've asked Kenzie since 11:45 a.m. (It's now 11:55)
1. Think I should hang this here?
2. Want to come outside with me?
3. Do you want me to spray you a little with the hose?
4. Don't you miss Chrisy?
5. Want to go for a walk?

I mean get real! I literally can't help it! She's just such a good listener! She has looked at me with that adorable little face each time and answered (with her eyes)

1. I think you should move it a little to the left
2. I'm kind of tired but I don't want to leave your side. So yes, I'll come with you.
3. I absolutely hate when you spray me with the hose, and you KNOW I absolutely hate when you spray me with the hose, but you do it anyway because you think I'm hot. I'm not hot!
4. Yes I miss Chrisy- I like how he rubs my belly. But he probably misses me more. I have him wrapped around my little finger.
5. She is currently answering this question- she is standing at the door looking at me like 'What the hell- you just asked me if I wanted to go for a walk! What are you waiting for?!'

So I better get the l-e-a-s-h.

Can I just say how much I LOVE her?

Look What I Grew!

That's Right! This is from my very own garden! A green pepper is on its way too!

7.20.2009

Entschuldigung!






So when I was in 7th grade, we were required to take an Introduction to Foreign Languages class to help us decide which language we wanted to study the following year. The only thing I have always remembered from taking this class is the German word 'entschuldigung!', which means 'excuse me!' I have never gotten a chance to use this word in a German speaking country until now. I used it for 3 solid weeks as often as possible. Each time, I assume I pronounced it totally incorrectly and it made me smile every single time. The Europeans loved me...

Dates: June 20-July 9

Cities/Towns Visited:
1. Vienna, Austria
2. Budapest, Hungary
3. Salzburg, Austria
4. Lucerne, Switzerland
5. Lausanne, Switzerland
6. Interlaken, Switzerland
7. Prague, Czech Republic
8. Ammersee, Germany
9. Munich, Germany
It goes without saying that in each of these places we walked the streets for endless hours, discovering hidden treasures around each corner. However, in an effort for me to always remember specifics, I'll make a list!
Highlights:

VIENNA

1. Seeing the 2 most famous Klimpt paintings- The Kiss and the Beethoven Frieze
2. Seeing The Magic Flute at the Vienna Staatsoper (the Vienna State Opera House)
3. Eating at Cafe Central, the most famous Viennese cafe
4. Spending an evening tasting Austrian wine at a vineyard on the outskirts of the city
5. Walking through the city's 6 block farmers market, tasting fresh produce

BUDAPEST
1. Swimming at a Hungarian bath house (Over 90 hot springs run under the city of Budapest)
2. Walking over the famous Chain Bridge from Pest to Buda
3. Seeing the Jewish "Shoes on the Danube" memorial
4. Using public transportation (not knowing a word of Hungarian) through the Castle District
5. Getting locked in a taxi by an angry Hungarian driver who felt I was ripping him off...(scary!)
SALZBURG
1. Visiting Mozart's old home
2. Stumbling upon a late night street festival where the band was playing American rock and roll!
3. Taking the train to Bushtesgarden, Germany for a rainy lake hike through the alps
4. Making it through a Sound of Music tribute show (hilarious but painful, and Sabrina, I am sorry I made you attend this!)
5. Sinking my teeth into my first German brezel (big soft pretzal) with sweet mustard and falling in luurrve

SWITZERLAND
1. Lying out by Lake Lucerne like a local until after sunset
2. Making friends with a goose
3. Eating late dinners overlooking the lakes
4. Taking a cable car from the town of Weggis (spelled like weggie! But pronounced Vegas) up the side of one of the Alps, and hiking to the top of Mt. Rigi (6,000 ft.)
5. Riding down the side of a mountain on a cogwheel train
6. Renting a speedboat on Lake Lausanne
7. Tasting Swiss wine at a vineyard on the water
8. Paragliding in Interlaken
9. The overnight train and being awakened by a man holding croissants
PRAGUE
1. Attending a Black Light Theater show
2. Spending 4th of July eating a French meal at a vineyard on the top of a hill overlooking Prague
3. Rubbing the statue of St. John of Nepomuk on the Chapel Bridge (he was thrown from the bridge to his death and it is considered good luck to touch his statue)
4. The road trip it took to get there and the damn one way roads!

GERMANY
1. Drinking beer at the Andechs (a monastery where the monks have brewed their own beer for over 500 years)
2. Hiking to Neuschwanstein castle
3. Meeting Sabrina's extended family
4. Searching for a bar in a small seaside town that would let us watch the Wimbledon final
5. Trying my first Ethiopian meal in Munich
6. Going to the site of the 1972 Olympics
7. Exploring Nymphenburg palace
8. Hearing the bells chime in the church tower at Marienplatz
9. Being serenaded on the train by a German elderly men's choir haha
My hands are tired:) Exploring new places is one of the things that makes me feel most alive and most free. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to do this (and to use the word entschuldigung). We had an unbelievable time!

6.19.2009

SCHHHOOOL'S OUT FOR SUMMMAAA!!!!!

Bittersweet. I can't believe the school year is over! What an awesome year it's been. 27 goodbyes yesterday to the the little people I've spent the majority of the past 10 months with. Unbelievable.

Last year on the last day of school I cried. I had so much anxiety in saying goodbye to my very first class- the fear of the unknown. What if I never again had such a great class? What if I couldn't top the work I'd done with them? What would it be like with brand new faces come September?

Yesterday, however, I didn't cry. While it was overwhelming watching them leave for the last time as my students, I know now that it isn't so bad. That a new group of children can come in as strangers and leave having formed a bond that will last years. And as far as missing anyone, I actually can't get rid of them:)! This year I had a group of about 10 of my students from last year who came, religiously, every single day to say good morning and another 4 who stopped by on their way out the door every afternoon. It was awesome.

With my new class came new obstacles, new rewards, new individuals who needed to be taught in ways that challenged me. Always on my toes. Never a dull moment. A hectic day was a good day. Just the way I like it.

I will take so much away from this school year. I thought outside of the box and believe I gave my students a school year they'll always remember fondly. I am so thankful that I was the one who had the opportunity to teach them.

Another reason that I may not have cried yesterday is because I'M LEAVING FOR EUROPE TOMORROW! I haven't had time to even wrap my brain around this until today! I have so much to do and I am so, so thrilled to take a MUCH needed break. I am happiest when I'm exploring, and for the next 3 weeks that's just what I'm going to do. Smell ya layta work!!

6.10.2009

Lights Out!

I am WAY behind on things I want to write about. It is amazing how much time and energy it takes to wrap up the school year. SOLs are OVER (!) and I have taught my entire curriculum, yet the students' last day is not until next Thursday. So our days lately have been filled with topics I find interesting but don't directly correlate to the third grade curriculum, such as the Lewis and Clark expedition, astronomy and physics. I assigned what I called the Mission (Im)possible Egg Drop Contest. The assignement was to make a container that would protect a raw egg from breaking on impact when thrown from the roof of the school building. We talked about potential and kinetic energy and shock absorbtion and they had the weekend to design the perfect container. Yesterday they brought them in, raw egg inside, and I was so impressed! They used play-doh, bubble wrap, cotton balls, balloons, marshmallows- one student even built a parachute on top of his container! Yesterday afternoon I used the ladder in the supply closet to climb on top of the roof of the school building and, with another teacher's help, hoisted all of the egg containers onto the roof using a bag and a piece of yarn (I know- I'm crafty!). One by one, with the students cheering, I threw each container off the roof. You're not going to believe this, but over 2/3 of my 8 and 9 year-old students designed containers that PROTECTED THE RAW EGG! The look on each of their little faces as they discovered their egg intact was priceless.
With the Economics Fair and Egg Drop contests over, the next few days will be spent getting ready for our class showcase.
Yesterday on my way home from work it started storming, and by the time I got home our power had gone out. Chris said that he had heard a loud bang so we had a feeling we might be sans light for a while. Now... I'm not addicted to the television or computers, but suddenly when I had neither I didn't know what to do with myself! Chris and I decided to play gin rummy, which managed to last several games before I eventually had to quit. You see, Chris is not what I would call a gracious winner ( :) ) and game after game of him kicking my tail and laughing outloud is bad for our relationship. The only reason I stayed calm as long as I did last night was because there was literally nothing else to do. Normally I want to smack him after one or two games- and yet I always come back for more?! Why do I do this?!
After I informed him that I would not be losing to him anymore, we went to see The Hangover and I really enjoyed it! I always find in movies that everyone around me is laughing outloud except for me and whoever I'm with. I like to think that it is because I surround myself with friends who share my intelligent sense of humor, and slapstick comedy just doesn't work for us, Chris included. So we were a little nervous when, in the first few minutes, the rest of the theater was rolling on the floor and the 2 of us looked like we were watching golf on tv. However, it turned out to be a very entertaining movie and one I'd see again.
When we got home our power was STILL out. We sat together for a long time talking before using out handy outdoor lights (thanks Big Mama!) to read into the wee hours. We heard the electricians in our back yard at 3:00 in the morning, and soon our power was back on. But as I told him this morning, there's no one I'd rather have had to sit in the dark with. Somehow we still made it fun.

5.19.2009

New Beginnings

My first strawberry
Can you tell this picture was taken by an 8-year old? Exactly where are the rest of our faces:)?

There must be something in the air around here. So many new, exciting things are happening all at once.
My friend Susan's baby, Jack, decided to take the world by storm six weeks prematurely. Though a bit of a shock, she and Jack are doing really well and he should be coming home from the hospital any day now.
Last Tuesday the 2nd grade baby chicks hatched right down the hallway from my classroom. I was able to hold one and show it to my students. I had never held a chick before. It was only 2 days old and was so soft and fragile.
I came home from school on Wednesday and discovered my first strawberry growing in my garden! I couldn't believe my eyes! It was green and only about 1/2 of an inch in diameter but it had appeared over night and was as good as gold to me. Since then a few more have sprouted and today I'm going to put netting around them so the birds don't eat them for lunch.
On Thursday morning our class caterpillars hatched into beautiful butterflies. It is such a wonder to watch the complete metamorphosis. My students are obsessed- they "sharpen their pencils" and "need a tissue" 20 times a day just to sneak an extra peek into the butterfly net. On Friday afternoon we'll let them go. Of course I will make a big production out of it and ask a few students to speak at the "ceremony".
This past weekend my friend Cara got married to her college sweetheart. Cara is from my highschool group of friends (what's up D-12). She and Teo married in Charleson, SC on Thursday and then we all flew into Atlanta on Friday for a weekend of festivities and celebration. This is the 2nd D-12 member to tie the knot and another is engaged. It's incredible that we've known each other since we were 12 and now we're flying places in support of one anothers' marriages. As I looked around this weekend at my friends I felt a surge of happiness. Here we are, teachers, councelors, fitness instructors, nurses, interior designers; we're Republican, Democrat, in between jobs, settled down, living all over the country. But we remember where we came from and how much we care about each other. So in a way it's like no time has gone by.
A week of so many new journeys- so cool.

5.13.2009

Splendid Spring!

Remind me why I live somewhere with seasons again? Now, don't get me wrong- I took advantage of the winter months. I skied, I drank hot chocolate, I sat by the fire, I wore cute scarves. However, these were all activites done with one purpose- to pass the time until spring arrived. Nothing beats that first feeling of sun on my face after months of deprivation, and that feeling stays with me all summer long. I'll do anything to be outside. I mean what girl in her right mind, who lives with a boy, would volunteer to mow the lawn? Twice! I just can't get enough! Just yesterday after work (after sitting in traffic for a full hour) I got home, planted some flowers, took Kenzie for a walk, went on a bike ride, went on a run and went on another bike ride! Madness!
There is a school of thought that the reason we enjoy spring so much is because we've suffered through the winter. That people who are accustomed to month after month of nice weather don't appreciate it like we do. I'll tell you what- get me 2 ski weekends and 361 days of spring weather and I'd never complain about another thing.

5.10.2009

Bring it on, Sunshine!

My fam minus J2

Chris and me on the tree swing

My aunt and uncle's beautiful home

Some of the Robinson family m0ms:)

Jason and me

The entire Robinson, Speiss and Hixon clans spent the day today at my aunt and uncle's house on the water in Annapolis, MD and it was such a fantastic day! If I am meant to be doing one thing it is playing outdoors in the sun and today was full of playing and (FINALLY!) sunshine! My Uncle Bo also took all of us out for a cruise on their beautiful boat and we sat on the bow (even Kenzie!) as our skin soaked up the sunshine. Contentment.
Being Mother's Day, I have to give a shout out to the one and only Big Mama. Thank you for never letting a day go by without showing me how much you love me. Your support and unconditional love push me to do great things. I love you so, so much.

5.05.2009

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

My students and I just had the unexpected pleasure of watching a caterpillar weave its own cocoon. It was unbelievable. Luckily I have my Flip video camera with me and I captured the entire event.
We receive caterpillars every year in our science kits to supplement our Life Processes unit and my students ruuuuun in the room every morning to see how much the caterpillars have grown. Their energy is contagious. Yet another reason why I love teaching.

5.04.2009

"Miss R. I think Bob's dead..."

We lost Bob the Fish over the weekend. As a tribute to him, I thought I'd tell his story...
I bought Bob the Fish from a local pet store at the beginning of last school year. My students voted on his name on the first day of school and somehow "Bob" won out. Not too long after, Bob developed a sort of tumor looking growth on the right side of his body. How does a fish get a tumor, you ask? I don't know. Why does the one fish I pick out for my new class have to be the one that develops said tumor, you ask? I don't know. All I could think at the time was "this fish can not die or these children will be devestated". So of course, lifesaver that I am, I bought drops for his water, special food, tablets, the works. And what does Bob's tumor do? It spreads. All over his backside. However, Bob doesn't seem to mind it. He swims happily in his small, medicine infested tank all year long without a care in the world.
Skip forward a year and a half to last Friday when I walk past Bob's tank and he looks as if he's sunbathing. He's still breathing, but he's resting his hind fin on the rocks and looking straight towards the ceiling like he's suddenly too heavy to swim anywhere. The tumor had finally gotten too heavy.
Oh NO. The End is Near.
One of my students noticed the concerned look I was trying to hide and I proceeded to go to great lengths to prove how healthy Bob was. I dropped food in his tank to show them he'd swim to get it and he literally fought his way to the top, ate the food and sank, bottom first, down to the ground. "He's just resting", I lie, "fish can't always swim around- it's tiring!"
Over the weekend I left Bob here, hoping he'd recover and win the record for "Longest living fish with a tumor". However, this morning I had a meeting in another area of the building so I arrived to my classroom as my students were walking in- which was NOT early enough to check on Bob before they spotted him FLOATING AT THE TOP OF THE TANK. Nataly, his biggest fan, screamed "Miss R!!! I think Bob's dead!!"
The next 5 minutes unfolded like I have always dreaded they would- in slow motion complete and utter hysteria. The students swarmed like bees, staring, waiting for me to do something. I picked up Bob's tank while attempting to calm everyone down. "Noooo, nooo he's fine!!" (purposely jostling the tank) "Look! He's swimming!" Before everyone in the room could get a good look at his lifeless body I whisked him away to a room down the hall to "get some rest." I told my students I'd check on him after school and I'm not sure what I'll say to them tomorrow.
I have already spread the word to my adult circle and there were a few people who were not sad to hear of Bob's death, mainly my brother Jason. In fact, his exact text to me was "I'm mad at you for reminding me of his existence". He thought Bob's tumor was absolutely disgusting and has been begging me for months to flush him and get a new Class Fish. For that reason I dedicate this tumor-filled entry to him.
Bob was such a trooper and I'll remember him fondly. Wish me luck breaking the news to his 27 eight year old friends...

5.03.2009

It's all in how you perceive things...

In Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth, he opens the first chapter by talking about flowers. He says, "Earth, 114 million years ago, one morning just after sunrise: The first flower ever to appear on the planet opens up to receive the rays of the sun."
I have started planting a garden in my new backyard and I can't help but notice how beautiful all of my flowers are. I am so proud of my newly acquired greeen thumb. As a teacher, I spend 8 hours a day with 27 eight and nine year-olds. My garden has become a quiet place where I can pay attention to details after a day full of mounting chaos. Every day I race home from work to see what's bloomed while I'm away. Flowers, like many things we've seen thousands of times, often get overlooked. But think about what it would have been like to see that first flower bloom, with all of its dazzling colors. What if we appreciated everything in life like we'd never seen it before? I bet, just maybe, we'd stop to "smell the roses".
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